13th November - Duncan Stackhouse, Glasgow,
"The Sun and Solar Flares - How Accelerated Particles Affect our Way of Life"
Duncan desribed how solar flares and coronal mass ejections affect the Earth, from auroral displays and power surges to loss of communications and the dangers presented to satellites and astronauts. He showed with a series of slides how such effects occur and the need for scientists to try and predict solar flares and their intensity in the hope that we may be better prepared to protect ourselves.
Duncan then showed us a little of his field of expertise, the study of activity on the solar limb, particularly how flares accelerate electrons, which may have an impact on us.
This was a well constructed easy to understand talk balanced with technical data for the more advanced astronomer.
Our grateful thanks for an excellent talk.
Growing up in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Duncan always had a passing interest in the astronomical. He attended the University of Glasgow originally intending to do a single honours in Mathematics, but graduated in 2012 with a joint Masters in Maths and Astronomy.
After his interest in the astronomical side of things had again been piqued he decided the natural thing was to continue his studies in research. With the Sun, our star, becoming his major area of interest. He currently works on electron acceleration in Solar Flares, taking a particular interest in the distribution of these electrons and processes behind the acceleration.
"Now in the final year of my PhD I do not know what the future holds after I get my doctorate. Watch this space..."
Following a Brief break Tony showed a video from the Solar Dynamics Observatory highlighting outstanding solar events from five years of observations. SDO have a website where videos can be downloaded and a You Tube channel featuring many short movies of solar activity. He followed this with a slideshow of The recent Mills Observatorys civic event celebrating 80 years of the Mills.
Ken showed some recent Auroral photos taken in Scotland.